Clients turn to attorneys when they have problems or questions, but what about when it’s the attorney with the problem?
At many law firms, it’s the general counsel who fields questions and helps solve problems. It’s a demanding job, but one at which Francis Deisinger of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC feels at ease.
“Lawyering is a difficult job and the problems we deal with can be complex, but it’s gratifying to help other attorneys,” he said. “It’s great to work with other smart professionals.”
Deisinger has been Reinhart’s general counsel for more than seven years and also serves as the firm’s vice president. “Attorneys have a substantial code of ethics and I advise attorneys both inside and outside the firm in those rules.”
Besides his role as Reinhart’s general counsel and work with the Milwaukee Bar Association, Deisinger maintains a busy litigation practice, focusing on trust, guardianship and product liability.
“Trust and estate litigation [is] very interesting and it’s mostly local, which is a nice change of pace,” he said. “For the first 15 years of my practice, I traveled quite a bit (for product liability cases) and it’s enjoyable to practice in front of judges you know and with opposing counsel that I also know.”
Allen Schlinsog Jr., chairman of Reinhart’s litigation practice, called Deisinger, who also is a frequent speaker on ethics, a “lawyer’s lawyer” who others look up to.
“He is a consummate professional and acts with great dignity and professionalism in everything he does,” Schlinsog said. “Although he has a quiet nature about him, everyone listens carefully to his thoughts because they are very insightful and stem from experience few can match.”
Deisinger’s assistance extends beyond Reinhart’s doors. He’s an active member of the Milwaukee Bar Association, including a stint as president from 2009-10. He also played an integral role in starting the Milwaukee Justice Center and said he still enjoys volunteering there.
“I love getting to know other attorneys from all kinds of places, large and small firms,” Deisinger said. “Attorneys in Milwaukee have a deep respect for one another. I’ve practiced in other places and what we have here is definitely special.”
For Deisinger in particular, Schlinsog said, that respect runs deep.
“Lawyers know that Fran is someone with the highest character,” he said; “someone that we would want to speak for us should the need arise.”